A relative of the soldier Yuval Mor Yosef, who was killed yesterday in a terror attack, told the Media at the doorway of the family home in Ashkelon: “From the age of 13 he read to us
from the Torah. He so loved it, and we so loved to hear him.” Yuval will no longer read the VaYigash Portion, this week’s Portion, in which so many verses are appropriate for the recent difficult days that Israel has been going through.
“כִּי אֵיךְ אֶעֱלֶה אֶל אָבִי, וְהַנַּעַר אֵינֶנּוּ אִתִּי” (For how will I go up there and the boy is not with me?), Yehudah painfully asks in the Portion, when he is afraid for the fate of his little brother, Binyamin. This sentence was placed by the Cohen family at the top of the announcement of his death, for the Nachal Haredi soldier, Yosef Cohen of Beit Shemesh, who was killed too yesterday in the same incident. “אַךְ טָרֹף טֹרָף” (He was killed by a beast), it is said in the Portion, and these words too were quoted by Yosef’s family in the announcement. In this Torah portion, crying is described five times. Both in the Torah and in real life there were lots of tears this week. But after the Torah Portion comes the Haftarah. At the end of this sad week, we will read on Shabbat morning the consolation prophecy by Ezekiel, simple, beautiful verses about a future we are yet to face: “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land… and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children, for ever; Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them–it shall be an everlasting covenant with them”. Amen.